Posted by Mark Ferrari on Apr 15, 2015



 Cheri Bird introduced today’s guest speaker: Founding Artisitic Director of Bard on the Beach Christopher Gaze OBC. Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival began in 1990 with a budget of $35000.00. Christopher Gaze and his colleagues had a vision to bring the wonders of Shakespeare to Vancouver and ultimately all of British Columbia. As Christopher notes, through dozens of adages, clichés, and sayings: the immortal Bard has touched every English speaker on the planet. From its modest beginning the festival now has an annual budget of $6,000,000.00 and last year was attended by 101,000 persons. The festival is staged by a dedicated group of professionals and volunteers annually at Vanier park in Vancouver. Total volunteer hours last year alone was 20,000. In addition to the annual festival Bard holds a 2 week theatre workshop for young people each year and brings Bard to over 200 school classrooms around the lower mainland (with the aim of going province wide). Of the 17 theatre companies in Canada with a budget of over $2,000,000.00 Bard on the Beach places last in funding with approximately $100,000.00 in grants. Fully 95% of the festival budget is earned revenue. The festival is now in the process of moving into its new production centre in the Olympic Village and gearing up for the 2015 season which runs from June to September. Jim W. thanked Christopher for joining us this morning.